Okay, so I wrote all these articles, and books, on weight gain and weight loss giving the key suggestions on how to keep weight off when you obsess over food. The tried-and-true examples and solutions for food addicts I write about work. So why then am I writing this piece on the confession of a food addict, especially one in recovery?
Well, I conducted a tele-health therapy session not so long ago with Jack, a food addict in recovery. He said something interesting. He said, “You know, Dr. Lisa, everyone is a little thicker since the quarantine in March 2020 to date.” His comments made me ponder, thinking everyone????
Okay, maybe not everyone… but I’m a little thicker. Oh wow, I said it. I’m a little thicker. How could the expert on obsessions, with four soon to be five books under her belt be thicker? And how is it this patient along with so many are thicker too?
Easy, I say. Many, including myself, are not moving around during work like we used to. I’ve been working tele-health, which keeps me glued to my desk for hours and hours with no movement.
When patients came into the office for in-person sessions, I got up from my chair, walking a good one hundred steps to receive them from the waiting room, returning another 100 steps to my chair. Now that might not seem like much walking to you but at the two hundred multiplied by ten times in one given day it adds up. Now we’re talking two thousand steps in time four days, which comes to eight thousand steps.
I walked eight thousand steps in one work week to zilch. I stopped moving for hours on end. Not good.
If you take the eight thousand steps in sixteen months, it adds up to a lot of sitting, which not only leads to less burning of fuel but also can lead to health issues.
According to an article put out by the Mayo Clinic, What are the Risks of Sitting too Much, by Dr. Edward R. Laskowski, “When you sit, you use less energy than you do when you stand or move.” And when you don’t move it leads to health risks.
What are these health risks you might wonder? Well, the article points out a wide variety of health concerns. These concerns include obesity, along with other conditions such as increased blood pressure along with high blood sugar.
Another concern for long periods of sitting is excess body fat around the waist, not to mention abnormal cholesterol levels.
These concerns lead to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of risk factors specific for cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or all three, according to Johns Hopkins.
The down low here is that too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting may lead to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Who knew such problems could arise from sitting too long. To learn that those who sat for over eight hours a day, with no physical activity, had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking, according to Dr. Laskowski is mind boggling.
Though inactivity may at first look like doom and gloom, there are solutions to the sitting too long dilemma. Get up at least every hour to walk about your office and add in a stretch or two with a bend and squat to get the circulation going.
It seems tele-health is here to stay, at least for a good part of my day. I now attempt to move about my office and walk through the primary area of the building on the hour every hour. I also do chair squats, run in place (while seated) and leg lifts, all from the chair.
Perhaps you can move about your space too. In addition, consider getting a standing desk for work so you can stand while other times sit.
Another solution to long hours of sitting is to add some physical activity into your day. I learned a brisk morning walk or bike ride counters the effects of too much sitting. In the evening I jump on my rowing machine for ten minutes to get an overall body workout. What can you do to move more at the office and at home?
The overall solution is less sitting and more moving.
So, my astute patient Jack was absolutely right when he noted people are getting thicker. He too was working in a stationary position since the pandemic, where before he walked to and from the courthouse a few blocks from his office.
We looked at how his stationary life versus his previous movement from the parking lot, which was a great distance to his office ceased. And then walking back and forth to the courthouse several times a day to idle. He realized movement to the court house, in the court house and from the parking lot to his office made a huge difference in how much fuel he burned throughout the day.
Now that Jack works from home rather than going into the office he must make a change. Also, he tended not to go to the grocery store walking the aisles to choose foods but ordered from, you guessed it, a sitting position in front of his computer.
Since Jack’s announcement about everyone getting thicker, he made some changes from now on. Though he gave up his office, he is cycling every morning and lifting weights a few times a week. Like me, he’s getting up every hour, walking around his home and stretching. It’s made a substantial difference, and he’s become less thick. And I’m back to less thick as well.
The beautiful part about the confession is the secret is out and now, once evaluated and corrected, Jack can move on—and I can too.
What about you, are you getting thicker? Did you find you’re moving less? What are some solutions you can apply to your life?
Thank you for being a part of the reading blog forum of this blog. If you have something you’d like to say, I’d love to hear it. YOU are important and your words need to be heard. I’m here for you.
To learn more on recovery from food addiction, eating disorders, weight issues, dieting, and aging, please check out my Release Your Obsession Series.
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Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.